Dwight Howard hopes shoulder can heal without surgery

USA TODAY Sports

Lakers center Dwight Howard would likely need surgery to fully repair his injured right shoulder, but the big man is hoping that it can mostly heal without going under the knife.

Lakers center Dwight Howard had back surgery in April that put him on the shelf throughout the summer, so it's somewhat natural that the big man would rather avoid surgery on his recently injured shoulder after this season.

Howard told Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times after the Lakers' big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday that he plans to just deal with the injury instead of going back under the knife and missing a bunch of time:

"Six months," Howard said. "I'd rather live with it than have six months out again. That'd be two summers in a row, so I don't want that."

Howard went into detail about the injury, saying that while the labrum in his right shoulder is intact, it's "torn away from the bone." Because of that, surgery would be required to fully repair the shoulder. However, the center will simply continue to go through therapy in hope that the Lakers' training staff will be able to effectively manage the pain. Howard then hopes plenty of rest in the offseason would help some of the inflammation subside, although again, the shoulder would likely never get back to 100 percent without some sort of procedure.

Howard has really struggled at times dealing with his various injuries this year. While he's still averaging 16.7 points and 12.2 rebounds, he has not been nearly as dominant as we have grown accustomed to. He has had an especially rough last five games, reaching double-digits in scoring just once. He scored eight points and went 2-of-10 from the free throw line in the victory over the Thunder.

These nagging injuries to Howard certainly won't make things any easier for a Lakers team trying to claw back into the playoff race. The win over the Thunder despite Howard's struggles was certainly encouraging, but it's hard to imagine the Lakers having any type of real success this year if the center is consistently limited. This also makes conversations about Howard's future even more interesting, but Lakers fans probably do not want to think about that at the moment.

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